This is as close as we can come to actually singing to our readers on their birthdays! 

We’d love to include yours – and/or your children’s birthdays here.

Just email to:

lynette@stunewslaguna.com

 

Celebrate and enjoy your

birthday!

 

December 5

Ben Young

Colleen Oyler

 

December 6 

Hugo Rivera

Jorg Dubin

Steve Dicterow

Taylor Romo

 

December 7

Anton Mandarino

Kathleen Knott

Kirsten Warner

 

December 8 

Bart Zandbergen

Bridgette Shaw

Don Meek

JJ Gasparotti

Maria Saffer Cobb

 

December 9 

Danielle Cavallucci

Gina Borelli

Jakob Dylan

Jim Brophy

Kara Taylor

Michelle Reinglass

Miriam Lew

Morgan Lamb

 

December 10

Blake Garrett

Bron Heussenstamm

Katie Shapiro

Lorna Mills

 

December 11 

Cindy Williams Fletcher

Diane Christopherson Reed

Don Sciortino

 

December 12 

Alison Durland French

Christine Fugate

James Walker Reed

Sue Cross

Sound Spectrum

Faves

 

1. War on Drugs, Deeper Understanding

2. Beatles, Sgt. Peppers Lonely hearts Club 50th 

3. Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life

4. Cage The Elephant, Unpeeled 

5. Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, Self Titled

6.George Thorogood, Party Of One

7. Arcade Fire, Everything Now

8. Haim, Something To Tell You 

9. Chainsmokers, Memories: Do Not Open

10. Foster The People, Sacred Hearts Club

11. Lorde, Melodrama

12. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN

13. Manchester Orchestra, A Black Mile To The Surface

14. Imagine Dragons, Evolve

15. Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip (S.T.) 

16. Mac DeMarco, This Old Dog

17. Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up

18. John Mayer, The Search For Everything

19. Phoenix, Ti Amo

20. Violent Femmes, 2 Mics & The Truth

Since 1967

1264 S. Coast Hwy494-5959

Jazz Wednesdays are back for the winter season

Tickets are now on sale for the popular Jazz Wednesday’s Winter season presented by Laguna Beach Live! The series includes seven concerts, Jan 17-April 11, at the distinctive event facility [seven-degrees] at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

The series kicks off on Jan 17 with Mark Towns Latin Jazz featuring Diana Purim, followed on Jan 31 by Straight Ahead Jazz featuring the Rickey Woodard Quintet. Feb 14 features Valentine’s Day Piano Jazz, with Grammy-Award winning Bill Cunliffe Trio with special guest vocalist, and February 28 presents Iconic Jazz, an All-Star Tribute to Dizzy & Ella featuring vocalist Maiya Sykes & Trumpeter Bijon Watson. March 14 features New West Group, March 28 Project Popular, and the series ends on April 11 with Modern Jazz Josh Nelson presenting: “And The Sky Remains” a love ballad to LA

Concerts are from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m, and doors open at 5 p.m. A full bar and buffet dinner menu is available for purchase starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Seating is assigned. Reservations are accepted until noon on day of concert or until sold out.

For more information visit www.lagunabeachlive.org or call 949-715-9713.

“Lighten Up” with Brian Kiley at the Chanukah comedy night at Monarch Beach Resort on Dec 16

Chabad Laguna Beach invites residents to “save the date” for a night of laughter at Chanukah comedy night’s “Lighten Up” with Brian Kiley, on Sat, Dec 16, at 7 p.m. at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.

A regular performer at LA comedy clubs, Brian Kiley has appeared several times on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”  He has been a staff writer for Conan O’Brien since 1994 and is currently the head monologue writer for the show. Brian has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards and is the winner of the 2007 Emmy for Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series.

Submitted photo

Brian Kiley

The evening will include a Menorah Kindling ceremony, latkes, refreshments and fine wine. The cost is $36 per person and $180 for a sponsor.

To RSVP and purchase tickets online, go to www.chabadoflaguna.com or call 949-499-0770.

Festivities are coordinated by Chabad Laguna Beach and Monarch Beach Resort.

Police Header

Laguna Life And People 042914


Holly Morrell has a truly heart-warming tale to tell

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Photos by MARY HURLBUT

Holly Morrell has a loving and compassionate heart. But it’s defective.

In all the good ways a heart can work; in caring for others, by giving back to the community, and enriching the world with her healthy spirit, Holly’s on top of the world. But in all the bad ways a heart can be broken, literally, that’s in her chest too.

Before she was born, people considered it a shame that her father’s mother had died so young. Even when her father’s sister died at the age of three, it was just one of those tragic things that happen. Thirty years ago the medical world considered cardiac arrest as a relationship to lifestyle, activity, or medication. 

But when Holly’s father, Chuck Morrell, was 57 years old he required a heart transplant, and then two of Chuck’s twin brother’s children died. One survived a full cardiac arrest at the age of 14. 

Finally, cardiologists at the National Institute of Health identified the genetic component doing its dirty work.

The Morrrell’s have suffered the loss of six of their 11 family members due to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Today, two live with devices implanted in their chests to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, and one received a heart transplant in 2010, as Holly’s father did in 1995.

Holly Morrell, champion of the heart

Holly was diagnosed with the condition herself in 2002. She endures and lives to fight on, after multiple surgeries to correct her implanted heart devices, and a full open-heart surgery two years ago.

Caring for others

“When my cousins died, it had a major impact on me,” Holly said. “I still had not been diagnosed, but I knew I wanted to start a screening program in memory of my loved ones lost, and save young people. More often than not, this is a preventable tragedy.”

Holly set out to learn more about early detection of heart problems. Genetic abnormalities of the heart are rare, but there are many other types of abnormalities as well that can be detected before an unthinkable tragedy strikes. 

“Even seemingly normal, healthy young people – athletes – die from sudden cardiac arrest every three days,” is one of the sobering statistics that Holly is trying to defy. The youngest person she has identified with a heart defect so far was a 9 year-old, and the oldest is a 60 year-old. It can happen to anyone.

Fifteen years ago she begged and borrowed the necessary mobile equipment and set out to perform screenings at high school athletic physicals. The Heartfelt Cardiac Projects started with little more than Holly’s compassion and determined spirit. Heartfelt screenings are her raison d’etre.

Giving back

“I didn’t choose this. This chose me,” Holly says, “Maybe it’s the reason I’ve survived. I feel incredibly blessed, even privileged to find my purpose in life.” 

Putting aside the grief her family has endured, Holly accentuates the positive. “I’m serving my mission, and it is unbelievably rewarding to know that you’ve saved a life.”

To date, Heartfelt Cardiac Projects have performed more than 30,000 screenings. About 10% of all screenings find some anomaly, and 2% are potentially life-threatening. And every life matters.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Holly (right) with some of the kids whose hearts were saved

 thanks to Heartfelt screenings (left to right): Zack Berens, Ryan O’Hare, 

Cheyne Jernigan, and Dillon Gustafson

Enriching the world

One of the hardest things for non-profits and the big-hearted people who drive that engine of passion, is that there’s a business side required to make all the wheels move forward.

Heartfelt Cardiac Projects require screeners, all of whom have been volunteers so far, and expensive mobile equipment able to travel to the school sites they serve all over Southern California. To take this community-based service into the future, Heartfelt Projects would like some heartfelt partners. 

Donations are hugely important, as this small operation handles massive amounts of data, and utilizes precise equipment. A top of the line mobile screening machine, for example, runs in the vicinity of $80,000. “I’m not a fundraiser,” Holly says. “I was naïve and wanted to save lives and spare grief for others. Now I’m realizing I need help for growth.” To keep the non-profit screenings going forward, she has started a GoFundMe campaign with a modest fundraising goal of $25,000. 

She jokes, “I’m holding myself hostage! Send $1,000 ransom!”

In all seriousness, Holly hopes to raise enough money to buy a new portable echo-cardiogram. The Stu News Laguna community is invited to donate in any amount: http://www.gofundme.com/HeartfeltCardiacProjects

Strong-willed as she is, Holly could use extra hands on deck. One day she envisions having actual paid help. “I have great volunteers,” she said. “But I really need to be able to pay people to help me. I can’t do it alone.”

Heartfelt Cardiac Projects will be screening more than 1,000 students in the next couple of months including many at Laguna Beach High School.

The Laguna Beach School District through the Athletic Boosters will be making Heartfelt screenings available during the next athletics’ physicals on June 3 and 4. The screenings are $85. The same tests normally cost as much as $1500 and are usually not covered by insurance.

Journey to the top of the world

“I believe my life was spared in order for me to continue my life’s work,” said Holly. “Often the gift of purpose is found through great adversity.”

Holly has time on her side now, but she also knows that every minute is precious.

Sudden cardiac death occurs every 90 seconds in the U.S. That is an ironic fact for Holly as she notes that is the exact time she was given to live when her heart failed two years ago.

The surgeon who performed the open-heart surgery that saved her life appreciated the full impact of those 90 seconds. The problem area of Holly’s heart resided under her left collarbone, a difficult area to find and repair. “He told me months after the surgery that it had been a touch and go situation,” she said. “He really didn’t know if I’d make it. My blood pressure was plummeting, and I was bleeding out. He had 90 seconds to fix my heart. That’s all that separated me from life and death.”

Holly only remembers waking up briefly after the surgery. “He kissed me on my forehead, and said, ‘I’m glad you made it’.”

These days Holly is good as gold. She checks in with the doctor every three months, and does home monitoring where the device in her heart actually sends a signal through a system to the doctor’s phone. 

“Even though I tried to put on a brave face I truly had a hard time imagining any quality of life ever again. I was wrong!” she says. “I am beyond grateful. My life is both a miracle and a blessing and I wish to cherish every 90 seconds of it!”

She’s not sure the doctor would approve, but she’s feeling good enough to get back into tennis, and her former partners are thrilled. And her beautiful dog, Sophie, is happy to get back to long walks together.

Sophie loves a nice walk once again with her pal Holly

There is no reason to doubt this optimist and activist. Last year alone she saved eight people’s lives with early detection. Her Heartfelt project has detected thousands of young people with heart defects, and provides the service at an affordable price - a fraction of the cost it would be in hospital, and the outpouring of love and gratitude from the families of loved-ones she has helped to save is palpable. 

May Heartfelt Cardiac Projects grow and flourish just as Holly Morrell’s heart does.

Anyone, of any age, can schedule a screening at the website: www.heartfeltcardiacprojects.org

Library Events

December 

 

Fri, Dec 8

Homework Help

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Homework is an important part of educational process. It improves your child’s thinking and memory, helps them develop positive study skills and habits that will serve him or her well throughout life. That’s why Laguna Beach Library is hosting a Homework Club. Children from Kindergarten through 8th grades are welcome to attend and receive help with their homework for subjects Math and English. 

 

Sat, Dec 9

Family Activity 

9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Get creative! Let your imagination run wild!  Children under 12 are encouraged to come to the library during the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to make fun and creative seasonal crafts.  Adult supervision is recommended. 

 

Sat, Dec 9

Author Talk with Rajbir Singh 

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Come on down to the Laguna Beach Library for a spiritual talk with author Rajbir Singh, author of HIMesha. He began this book nearly 11 years ago. It includes personal reflections of his own transformation, journey, and spiritual experiences. 

 

Mon, Dec 11

Class/ Workshop

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Serious writers working on projects (short stories, novels, plays) meet to share feedback and support.  This is not a workshop for beginners. Please contact the library for additional information.

 

Mon, Dec 11

Adult Book Group

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

This month, check our website to see which book the Laguna Beach Adult Book Group will be discussing. Copies will be available at the checkout desk.

 

Tue, Dec 12

Author Event 

5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.

Growing-up in Laguna Beach, ten year old brothers, Keanu and Zen, have a passion for the ocean and riding waves.  The boys have also been influenced by Laguna’s art culture, finding much joy in painting.  Keanu and Zen have self-illustrated their book with watercolor paintings.  Please come meet these local author/illustrators for a reading of Skimstories: Riding Waves, book signing and Q&A.

 

Wed, Dec 13

Pre-School Storytime 

10:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

Calling all pre-schoolers! You are invited to enjoy our new Wednesday storytime. Stories, songs, fingerplay, dancing and more will encourage a love of books and learning in a fun and interactive environment. Come for the stories and stay for playtime afterward.

 

Thu, Dec 14

Family Storytime

10:30 a.m.-  Noon

Welcome to the Peapod Academy. Join some of the cutest babies, toddlers, & preschoolers in town and adults of their choice at the Library. Little peas will enjoy books & storytime, songs & music, fingerplays, movement, hands on activities, arts & crafts, and other cadets. Each week has a different theme.  Get to know others and support your little one’s developmental skills. No preregistration required. 

 

Thu, Dec 14

Photo Scanning Open House

3 p.m.- 5 p.m.

Digitization is a great way to preserve your family photos for future generations. From 3:00-5:00 pm, you can bring in your photos and documents and we will show you how to scan them. We can burn them onto a CD, or you can bring a flash drive to save them. Also, you can bring historical photos of Orange County and include them in the OC Stories Project.

 

Thu, Dec 14

Read to a Dog

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Kids can read aloud to Salsa our therapy dog.  She’s so sweet and a very good listener. Bow-Wow! Please preregister at the Children’s Desk or call the library. Drop-ins.

 

Thu, Dec 14

School Age STEM Program

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Our STEM program promotes critical thinking, problem solving and creativity—for kids 8-years and up.  We’ll learn all kinds of cool ways to design things that go! We’ll play with the weather and work with math concepts too.  Each month we’ll have a fun and awesome hands-on experience! Preregistration required. Please call the library at 949-497-1733.

 

Fri, Dec 15

Homework Help

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Homework is an important part of educational process. It improves your child’s thinking and memory, helps them develop positive study skills and habits that will serve him or her well throughout life. That’s why Laguna Beach Library is hosting a Homework Club. Children from Kindergarten through 8th grades are welcome to attend and receive help with their homework for subjects Math and English.

 

Laguna Beach Library

363 Glenneyre St.

www.ocpl.org

949-497-1733

  Laguna Beach Books Bi-weekly Bestsellers

 

Novels

Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

End Game by David Baldacci

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

 

Non-Fiction

Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

Playing With Fire by Lawrence O’Donnell

What Unites Us by Dan Rather

Children’s Books

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio

Love, Santa by Martha Brockenbrough

Staff Recommendation

David Sedaris Diaries edited by Jeffrey Jenkins

1200 S Coast Hwy

949.494.4779

www.lagunabeachbooks.com

Meet the Skivvies at the Playhouse this December

Laguna Playhouse is presenting The Skivvies: Sleigh My Name on Dec 18 and 19.

The Skivvies are Tony Award-nominee Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd, Candide, Marry Me A Little) and Nick Cearley (Pageant, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All Shook Up), along with special guest, Laguna’s favorite Jason Feddy, who will perform stripped-down versions of eclectic covers, wacky holiday mash-ups (“I Melt with You/Frosty the Snowman,” “We Got the Beat/The Little Drummer Boy”), and eccentric originals. 

Not only is the music stripped-down cello, ukulele, glockenspiel, melodica, and a surprising array of other under-used instruments—but The Skivvies literally strip down to their underwear to perform. Grab your spiked eggnog, hurry down the chimney, and settle in for an evening of laughter and holiday cheer, the Playhouse suggests.

One free drink comes with all tickets, so that grab that eggnog and enjoy the show. Additional special guests will be announced soon. Visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com for more information.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie, Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

Email: Lynette@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc

949.715.1736